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Miller v. At&T

United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Hot Springs Division

May 15, 2018

PAUL F. MILLER PLAINTIFF
v.
AT&T doing business as Southwestern Bell Telephone Company; AT&T doing business as DirecTV, LLC; JAMS; and RANDALLS DEFENDANTS

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION OF THE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

          HON. BARRY A. BRYANT, U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Before the Court is the Opposition to Plaintiff's Application to Vacate Arbitration Award and Cross-Motion of Defendants Southwestern Bell Telephone Company d/b/a AT&T (“AT&T”); DirecTV, LLC (“DirecTV”); and Randall Stephenson (“Randall”) (collectively, “Separate Defendants”) to Confirm Arbitration Award. ECF No. 8. Plaintiff has filed a response to this Motion. ECF No. 15. Separate Defendants have replied. ECF No. 23.

         Pursuant to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) and (3) (2009), the Honorable Susan O. Hickey referred this Motion to this Court for the purpose of making a report and recommendation. In accordance with that referral, this Court enters the following report and recommendation.

         1. Background:

         On January 12, 2018, Plaintiff filed this action seeking to vacate an Arbitration Award entered against him. ECF No. 1. Specifically, this Arbitration Award, entered on January 10, 2018, provided as follows:

1. Claimant Paul F. Miller did not prevail on any of his claims, and all of his claims asserted herein are hereby dismissed with prejudice.
2. Respondents are entitled to an award of sanctions against Claimant in the amount of $250, payable to Respondents by Claimant Paul F. Miller.
3. Except as otherwise awarded herein, all parties shall bear their own attorneys' fees and costs.

ECF No. 1-2.

         Plaintiff claims the Arbitration Award should be vacated because the arbitrator's or Defendant JAMS's “refusal to arbitrate the fraudulent billings, refusal to allow discoverable evidence of its cause, her concealment from responsible authority of the losses and unjustified delay in light of the continuing victimization of millions is evident partiality and bias.” ECF No. 1 at 4. Plaintiff also claims JAMS decided issues outside the scope of the arbitration clause. Id.

         In response, Separate Defendants claim the Arbitration Award should be confirmed because there is no basis for vacating it. ECF No. 15. Specifically, Separate Defendants argue Plaintiff has already had his claims fully adjudicated, and there is no basis for vacating the Arbitration Award. Id.

         2. Applicable Law:

         In addressing a motion to compel arbitration, courts generally apply a two-part test: “(1) whether there is a valid arbitration agreement and (2) whether the particular dispute falls within the terms of that agreement.” E.E.O.C. v. Woodmen of World Life Ins. Soc., 479 F.3d 561, 565 (8th Cir. 2007) (quoting Faber v. Menard, Inc., 367 F.3d 1048, 1052 (8th Cir. 2004)). While, the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”) governs the enforceability of the Arbitration Agreement in this case, “[t]he validity of the agreement is determined by state contract law.” Id.

         Under Arkansas law, the essential elements of a contract or an agreement are: (1) competent parties, (2) subject matter, (3) legal consideration, (4) mutual obligations, and (5) mutual agreement. Showmethemoney Check Cashers, Inc. ...


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